Resilient Leadership – 10 Protective Factors

Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back and subsequently flourish following adversity (Lutherar & Cicchetti, 2000). Drs. Nicole Detling, Stephen Gonzalez, and Nick Galli, sport psychology consultants, developed a framework for resiliency in sports, which has been adapted for application to leadership:

The first step in the process is to develop your protective factors. The 10 protective factors of resilient leadership according to Trigena H. Halley, PCC, BCC, of the Nonprofit Academy for Excellence at the University of Utah, and Dr. Nicole Detling are the following:

  • Difficult Opportunities – growth opportunities through difficult situations, usually voluntary.
  • Self-Care – strategies to support physical needs (sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management).
  • Flexible Perspectives – ability to hold multiple perspectives at the same time and flex your viewpoint with incoming information.
  • Thought Awareness – intentional awareness of thoughts and their personal impact, reframing.
  • Emotional Wisdom – understanding and using emotions as wisdom.
  • Optimism – possibility thinking and positive perspective.
  • Failure = Feedback – moving forward differently based on feedback.
  • Determination and Tenacity – long haul thinking and incremental steps.
  • Solid Social and Personal Networks – cultivating relationships and networks.
  • Strong Selfies – self-esteem and self-confidence

The second step in the process is the development of resilient qualities and behaviors. Over time, resilient qualities and behaviors appear when protective factors are supported and reinforced. Resilient behaviors and qualities will be different for each individual; the key is tapping into and building upon the qualities that work best for each individual. As individuals intentionally and consistently focus on their resilient behaviors they become professional habits, which can be utilized with confidence in times of adversity.
The third step in the process is the adversity experience itself. In a business context adversity shows up in the loss of a sale, substandard performance, missed promotion, being fired, demoted and/or part of a reduction in force, financial and/or operational mistakes, etc.

The final step is positive adaptation, which is the ability to utilize resilient professional habits in the face of adversity. In the context of business, the hallmark of positive adaptation is successful performance. Resiliency starts with the development of protective factors and ends with professional habits. These professional habits are tested and refined as adverse situations occur.

- by Trigena Halley

Trigena Halley (PCC, BCC, MBTI, PCSI, NLP) has more than 20 years of professional coaching, consulting, and training, and is adjunct faculty with the Nonprofit Academy for Excellence and Professional Education at the University of Utah.

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